Build@Mercari Orientation and Week 1: A New Challenge Has Started for All of Us! #BuildAtMercari

Good day! This is Mark (@TangoEnSkai) from Mercari’s Backend Engineering Team.

Last year, Women@Mercari started a discussion about launching Build@Mercari, an educational training program for future software engineers, especially for those from minority/underrepresented groups.With a tonnes of support from many different people in Mercari group, we successfully started the first few sessions in May!

Today, I would like to share what was happening during the first two weeks of Build@Mercari skill training sessions.

Week Zero: Orientation + Welcome Party

In the very first week, the week zero, on the 20th of May, we had two main events:

・ Orientation
・ Welcome Party

The Orientation: Hirona Explains Mercari’s Value

During the orientation, Hirona (@hironahono), Build@Mercari Project Manager, was leading the main orientation session, introducing the Build@Mercari participants about our mission, value, and services. In addition, some details about the company were also explained. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 situation, we are not able to conduct the program at Mercari TokyoOffice, so she showed us some pictures of our office!

One of the main parts of the orientation was explaining why Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is important for us (e.g. D&I at Mercari). This is because Build@Mercari is one of the biggest projects that was created under the effort of D&I teams and supporters. At the moment, we have three communities to promote D&I in the company and the public.

Build@Mercari is a project from the “Women@Mercari” community, and the main mission is to tackle gender inequality issues in STEM and IT fields.

According to ISACA (Information System Audit and Control Association), which is an international professional association focused on IT governance, one of the main reasons for the issue is that role models or leaders in IT and tech are mostly male. Moreover, the second significant reason is also about the situation of male dominant IT industry.

The mission of our program is to create a future where software engineers with diverse backgrounds can shine . We would like to discover the future leader of the IT industry from underrepresented groups and I hope our Build@Mercari participants can have a great starting point with us to become leaders in the IT and Software industry. We also introduced the many members from various teams that helped contribute to creating this program.

Even if we were conducting the program remotely, we want to maximise people’s participation and interaction! As an icebreaker, we have short self-introductions and also share some thoughts about something excited about as well as concerns or questions.

Before ending this orientation, Wakana (@wakanapo), who is one of the co-lead of this program and the program owner who brought the Build@Mercari proposal to Mercari, was giving a lightning talk about sharing her life as a woman as a student, intern, and software engineer.

Wakana giving her presentation

She talked about important learning from her experience and shared her goal to others. I hope and believe all participants will be great influencers in the future!

At the end of the orientation, we briefly introduced what we are going to cover during this 7 week’s session, then divided people into several groups of about 4~5 people in each including Mercari’s engineers so that we can casually talk about life, work, hobbies, etc.

View the full orientation slides (Japanese)

Week One: Git and Development Flow

One week later from the orientation, Hide (@hide), our iOS Engineer, was giving a presentation about “Git and Development Flow”. It started with a very basic concept of CLI (Command Line Interface) to Git, and how to use GitHub. At the end of the session, he covered development flow in the real world.

We use Google Meet for these training sessions, so the instructor shares his slides with other people, and explains about today’s topic.
Not only explaining theories, he also demonstrated how to use certain commands, options, and how that works, step by step so that students can also try together with their own computers and ask questions if some problems arised.

The Orientation: Hirona Explains Mercari’s Value

Whenever the students have questions or troubles, we communicate via our Slack channel so that mentors, and other engineers can support them, also recommend some useful references so that they can learn more about concepts they were learning during and after this session. Not only talking about some problems and errors students got during the lecture, during break-time we also have some casual chat on slack!

So, many engineers volunteered to support during the sessions and students and we were successfully covered in the first lecture. In short after we worked through with topics:

・ How to use terminal
・ What is Git?
・ Git commits
・ Start development by using Git
・ GitHub and working together
・ Work in as a team

Then, at the end of this session, we divided the students into several groups and gave homework to review what we learnt during the lecture! Of course, after the sessions, students can ask any questions about the topic we learnt, homeworks, or anything else to learn more to become a software engineer in the future!

View the full content of our Week 1 class (Japanese)

We were very excited to finally launch this program and also very happy to see many people say thanks to us! We also want to thank all students who applied for our program to “build” their future career with us. I hope it can be a great experience and starting point for them as well as for us to encourage society to have more great leaders in the future!

Mark Hahn

Jun “Mark” Hahn is currently a Software Engineer for the Home & Search Team, under Backend & SRE Team, Engineering Division, Mercari JP. He joined Mercari Inc., as a new grad in April 2019. In the past, he has studied multidisciplinary fields such as computer science, sociology, psychometrics, and liberal arts. Although his experience is mostly based on theoretical studies, his interests are in practical contributions to our daily lives through technology. As a software engineer, his current focus is on Golang, Microservices Architecture, Agile Software Development, and a little bit of functional programming.

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